Why Afghans Support the Taliban

January 20, 2010

Corruption, unemployment, insecurity...

Around one in four Afghans surveyed had to pay at least one bribe to police and local officials during the survey period while between 10 and 20% had to pay bribes either to judges, prosecutors or members of the government.

“The Afghans say that it is impossible to obtain a public service without paying a bribe,” said Mr Costa.

“Bribery is a crippling tax on people who are already among the world’s poorest,” he added.

The UN survey which delivered this information surveyed over 7,000 people, far more than a BBC survey last year which suggested that far fewer Afghans identified corruption as a major problem. This tends to make the government propped up by NATO’s ISAF force seem much less appealing. The survey has also provided a window on emerging class structures in Afghanistan that have been created by the occupation:

Mr Costa noted the emergence of a “new caste of rich and powerful individuals who operate outside the traditional power/tribal structures and bid the cost of favours and loyalty to levels not compatible with the under-developed nature of the country…Criminal graft has become similarly monumental, perverse and growing and is having political, economic and even security consequences,” he said.

Costa wants to “drain the swamp of corruption in Afghanistan, to stop money and trust disappearing down a big black hole” but the UN also reports that “There was also a perception among 54% of Afghans that international organisations and NGOs were corrupt and “in the country just to get rich”” – ie. the money flowing into Afghanistan’s ruined economy has supplied the building blocks for a ruthless kleptocracy. Getting aid “right” is as important as eliminating local bad guys – one assumes that the NGOs and contractors from outside Afghanistan will not be “drained” as thoroughly as Afghan malefactors.

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One Response to “Why Afghans Support the Taliban”


  1. […] have been liberally used by left wing radicals to pinpoint one of the world’s great evils.  I doubt that anyone bothering to read this believes that our troops are in Afghanistan to find Osam…  Some of you might think that they are there to keep terrorism off the streets of the Western […]


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